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NEW Books for a NEW Year

We got a lot of new books during 2015, and we’d love to share them with you! Click the images below to check availability in our catalog.



Ragweed’s farm dog handbook

By Anne Kennedy

Ragweed gives you some tips about all the things you need to do (and not do) in order to be a good farm dog.



Playdates are not scary!
By Kara McMahon

Friday desperately tries to get out of a playdate with Mushy.



show horses

Show Horses

By Stephanie Turnbull

Horses work together with their human counterparts to entertain others in many ways, from formal performances to Medieval jousting.


my pet human

My Pet Human
By Yasmine Surovec

An independent cat insists he prefers to live alone until he learns to love and train the human who adopts him.


Jan16 - JPB, JE, MU (1) Jan16 - JPB, JE, MU (2)

January 20 is Penguin Awareness Day!

Here are some Penguin Fun Facts to get you excited for tomorrow!  Amaze your friends.

  1. Penguins are flightless birds.
  2. While other birds have wings for flying, penguins have adapted flippers to help them swim in the water.
  3. Most penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere.
  4. No penguins live at the North Pole.
  5. Penguins can drink sea water.
  6. Penguins spend around half their time in water and the other half on land.
  7. The Emperor Penguin is the tallest of all penguin species, reaching as tall as 120 cm (47 in) in height.
  8. Little Blue Penguins are the smallest type of penguin, averaging around 33 cm (13 in) in height.
  9. Penguin’s black and white plumage serves as camouflage while swimming. The black plumage on their back is hard to see from above, while the white plumage on their front looks like the sun reflecting off the surface of the water when seen from below.
  10. Penguins in Antarctica have no land based predators.

Can’t get enough of penguins? Watch the Live Penguin Cams brought to you by the California Academy of Sciences!

If you want to see these penguins up close, check the Alameda County Library’s Discover & Go page to see if any discounted passes to the Academy are available. While you’re at it, explore the variety of museums, zoos, historical sites, and similar areas of interest in the Bay Area. Click HERE to learn more about how Discover & Go works.

And here are some books to enjoy:

flight school

Flight School
By Lita Judge

Penguin’s dream is to fly, and he hopes to learn just that when he attends flight school.


if you were

If You Were a Penguin
By Wendell and Florence Minor

Penguins can do some pretty amazing things. What could you do if you were a penguin?


tony baloney

Tony Baloney
By Pam Muñoz Ryan

Tony has to put up with a lot of annoying behavior from his siblings, and sometimes he loses his temper.


face to face

Face to Face With Penguins
By Yva Momatiuk and John Eastcott

Learn everything there is to know about penguins alongside photographs that show their everyday lives.


Jan16 - penguins

Celebrate Letter Writing Week

Did you know January 11-17 is Letter Writing Week?

In a world filled with Instagram, Snap Chat and Facebook, letters are still special. Letters can be tied with a ribbon and saved in a shoebox.  You can read them over and over again. They help you become a better friend.

Letter writing is a great way to show that you truly care by recognizing the gifts and talents of others and putting it on paper. Who in your life would benefit from receiving a letter of encouragement today?  Pick up your pen and write to someone special.

Take a look at these books to get some inspiration for your next letter. Who knows, maybe you’ll write a book!

hank williams

Dear Hank Williams

By Kimberly Willis Holt

As part of an assignment, Tate writes letters to a country singer that provide insight into her life with all its dreams and tragedies.



Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

By Kelly Jones

After Sophie and her family move to Great Uncle Jim’s farm, she is tasked with taking care of chickens that show some very un-chicken-like behaviors.


mr henshaw
Dear Mr. Henshaw
By Beverly Cleary

Leigh writes about his turbulent home and school lives in a series of letters and diary entries to his favorite author, Mr. Henshaw.



Jan16 - letters


Wintry Reads

Still cold? Take shelter from the wind and rain by curling up with one of these books! Click the images below to check availability in our catalog.

By Matthew J. Kirby

A royal family gets sent away with a few household guards and servants to escape a war, but someone—a stranger or a traitor—is stealing their supplies.




Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
By Karen Foxlee

In a city that always snows, a girl finds a mysterious boy kept prisoner in a museum.



winter day play

Winter Day Play!
By Nancy F. Castaldo

Even if you’re not going to see the snow this year, there are still plenty of winter activities to do and crafts to make.



snow queenThe Snow Queen
By Hans Christian Andersen

Kai and Gerda are best friends, but one day Kai is beckoned away from home due to evil magic. Gerda embarks on a dangerous journey to bring him back.


Dec15 - J FIC, J NF (1) Dec15 - J FIC, J NF (2)

Brrrrr! It’s Cold!

hot apple ciderWinter is here and it’s a good time to turn on the oven and cook something! Here’s a great recipe for hot apple cider – with adult supervision:

8 cups pressed apple juice/cider (not from concentrate)
1 orange, cut into 1/4″ slices
3 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
1 inch piece of ginger cut into coin sized slices
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1. Add all the ingredients to a large pot. Bring the cider to
boil for 5 minutes.
2. Reduce the heat to low and allow the cider and spices
to simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Strain the cider before serving

starting from scratch Starting From Scratch: What Kids Should Know About Food and Cooking by Sarah Elton

“Starting from Scratch demystifies food and cooking by boiling it down to the basics. Young chefs learn to make sense of recipes, measure and substitute ingredients, and stock a pantry, and discover that food is more than just a prepackaged meal.”             [J641.5622 ELTON]

kids cook 1-2-3Kids Cook 1-2-3: Recipes for Young Chefs Using Only Three Ingredients  by Rozanne Gold

“With more than 100 easy-to-follow recipes, kids can prepare breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts and more, while learning about fresh ingredients and simple cooking techniques. From the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich to crunchy wasabi salmon, young cooks will gain confidence as they prepare homemade soups, delicious macaroni and cheese, and a heavenly chocolate mousse cake.”    [J641.5123 GOLD]

Mini-Chicken-Pot-Pie-1024x683Chicken Pot Pies are a favorite, but have you ever thought you could make your own? Here is a recipe that is kid friendly and simple, and you can find many different versions. You can come up with your own combinations of veggies to suit your own taste. And if you want something other than canned soup as a base, try this recipe:

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

Replace this homemade cream of chicken soup with the canned version. This is a lot healthier than the canned soups. And personally we like it a lot better than the canned cream soup!

1/3 cup butter or stick margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
In saucepan melt butter. Whisk in flour until thickens. Whisk in chicken broth and pepper. Bring to a boil until thickens. Whisk in milk and again bring to a boil until thickens set aside and allow to cool.



Winter Fun!

snowflakeIt’s Winter Break. Have any plans?

Check out some of these ideas:

kids-practicing-ice-skate-isolated-illustration-who-35590894Downtown Ice in San Jose – A seasonal, family-friendly outdoor skating rink where the cost of admission includes rental skates. 120 S. Market St, San Jose, CA 95113

Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, San Francisco. General Admission $11, Children (Eight and Under) $7, Skate Rental $6

Holiday Ice Rink Embarcadero Center, San Francisco. Closes January 3, 2016. General Admission – $11, Children (7 & under) – $6, Skate Rental – $5

The Little Ice Rink at South Shore Center, Alameda. Open through January 18, 2016. ADULTS from 9 – 100 years old – $16. CHILDREN up to 8 years old – $12. Includes skate rental , unlimited skating

penguin-in-the-snow-rfnu5xHolidays on the Farm at Dell’ Osso Family Farm, Lathrop, CA. Open through January 2, 2016. Ice skating, snow tubing and snow play. Snow tubing, $20 per person for a 90 minute session; skating prices vary depending on day of the week and you can save $2 if you bring your own skates. Snow play is free.

The Force Awakens!

SW-THE-FORCE-AWAKENSThe newest chapter in the Star Wars saga is coming out in a few days! Star Wars first appeared in theaters May 25, 1977 – thirty eight years ago! When it first came out, no one suspected what a huge impact it would have!

Since 1977 five more feature films – The Force Awakens makes it six! – and a wealth of other creations including books, television series, computer and video games, and comic books, resulting in significant development of the series’s fictional universe.

lego.sw.3.yoda.lgAnd let’s not forget the toys, including LEGOs, costumes, clothing, linens, home decor; fan groups, cosplay, fanzines, conventions – as above, an entire fictional universe.

And you can find many books, DVDs, and BluRay movies at the Alameda County Library.

what is a wookieeStar Wars. What is a Wookiee?

“Narrated by everyone’s favorite golden droid, C3P0, DK Reader: What Is A Wookie? introduces young readers to some of the strange aliens he has met in his travels, including R2-D2, Yoda, Jar Jar Binks, the ewoks, and, of course, Chewbacca the Wookiee.”             [JE STAR]

return of the jedi JE LEGO Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by Emma Grange

” LEGO figurines as Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia battle against Darth Vader as he attempts to end the rebellion with the powerful Death Star.”     [J GRANGE.E]

star wars the adventures of Luke Skywalker Jedi knightThe Adventures of Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight by Tony DiTerlizzi

“Retells Luke Skywalker’s journey from a Tatooine farm boy to a Jedi Knight, as he learns how to use the Force in the battle against the Empire.”        [J DITERLIZZI,T]

return of the padawan Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown

“After surviving his first year at Jedi Academy, Roan Novachez thought his second year would be a breeze. This year, Roan will have to face alien poetry tests, menacing robots, food fights, flight simulation class, online bullies, more lightsaber duels, and worst of all … a girl who is mad at him.”     [J741.5973 BROWN,J]

star wars shattered empireStar Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka

“Part of the Lucasfilms Journey to the Force Awakens publishing campaign, this is THE book to read before Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It is the official prequel describing the events between Return of the Jedi and the newest film, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. – See more at: http://www.turnaround-uk.com/star-wars-journey-to-star-wars-the-force-awakens-shattered-empire.html#sthash.KN8o0MX5.dpuf”




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